The Supreme Court Declines To Hear X’s Case Against the FBI

( — On Monday, January 8, the Supreme Court rejected a request from X Corp. to hear an appeal regarding the release of information regarding the number of times the FBI requested user information from the company in connection with national security. The arguments and lawsuits over the issue have been ongoing since 2014, when Twitter, now known as X, was blocked from publishing the data as part of their biannual “Transparency Report.” Two lower federal courts have already ruled that the FBI has the right to bar the publication of such data.

In their petition to the higher court, the company said that it is of utmost importance to make the standards for discussing the extent of governmental surveillance concise and “constitutionally adequate.”. The petition further posited that history has shown that the surveillance of communications can be an area prime for governmental abuse. The company also suggested that the issue of government surveillance and control over communications is one of intense concern for the public.

The Supreme Court did not attempt to justify or explain its decision not to hear the appeal. A federal district court ruled in 2020 that the government was justified in keeping the information classified, suggesting that there was no additional scope for adjusting the restrictions. In 2022, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision, adding that the omissions are valid for government interest in national security. Circuit Judge Daniel Bress plainly stated that the proposed disclosures could risk giving foreign adversaries crucial information about what the government is or isn’t surveilling.

Owner and CTO of X, Elon Musk, took to the platform to express his disappointment about the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based non-profit devoted to digital rights, believes this issue to be exceptionally important and a subject of public concern. They had drafted a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear the appeal arguing that the ruling gives officials the power to silence virtually anyone who interacts with a government agency and wishes to speak publicly about it. The FBI has said that they reviewed the disclosure report and found classified information within it.

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